I learned to play football in the streets. Every day of school, everyone came and played football. The street is a good school, and you learn many things there - resiliency, how to play against older players, and how to put up with or dodge kicks. .
The first time I met Leo Messi, I didn't know who he was, only that I couldn't believe the boots he was wearing. But he is like a brother to me. It was at the start of 2005, when I was with the Argentine under-17 squad and I saw him chatting with Ezequiel Garay and some other players about the boots he'd brought back from the U.S.A. .
As a kid, you obviously dream of being a professional footballer. I would watch players like Ronaldo of Brazil and pretend to be him in the playground. But I don't think about trying to become one of the best in the world or anything like that. I just play football. .
When I was younger, I had some close friends who always loved European football, and Real Madrid at that time were the dominant force. I remember family holidays when we used to go to Spain, and we'd bring back replica shirts of Real Madrid and pretend to be the players when we played in the park. .
Back then, a half-a-century ago, the situation was totally different. Economically, we were practically on our knees, and politically, we were still excluded from the community of nations. Today, in this respect, we have a totally different and much more stable basis. .
The two designs are completely different. The first is totally futuristic, the second is more classical. You can of course get very excited about doing something completely out of the ordinary, just like the Olympic stadium in its time. But each to his or her own taste. .
We are the last remaining country to allow ourselves two breaks in the season. You just have to look at England, Italy and Spain, they play right through the season. We on the other hand take six weeks off in the winter until the end of January, and that is a luxury. .
It would make me a lot happier if I could meet up again next year with as many friends as possible from all over the world who I've met during my career. That's where the great opportunity lies, for me personally, in our role as World Cup host. .
I kept my speeches short as captain. I focused on the key points of the opposition of the day. As coach, I was never afraid to give long speeches to the players throughout our preparations. It was important they had all the information possible. .
I would never complain about the position I'm in or the attention I get. At the end of the day, I'm very lucky to have what I have and do what I do, but I don't see myself as any different from anyone else who works hard and is a dad and a husband. .
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